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Ganache is simply a mixture of equal parts chocolate and cream. It is used as the base for truffles, as a filling between cake or cookie layers and can be softened to make a simple chocolate mousse. This is one of those fabulous combinations where each of the ingredients is enhanced by each others. There are many methods of combining the chocolate and cream but for the home cook these are the easiest and most foolproof:
* the chocolate is barely melted and the cream is beaten into it
* the cream is brought to a boil, removed from the heat and slowly stirred into a bowl of chopped chocolate.
I prefer the latter, as there is less chance of burning the chocolate. The proportion of chocolate to cream determines the stiffness of the resulting product.
Add more cream and you will get a softer product.
Add more chocolate if you need to stiffen the mixture.
Luscious Chocolate Ganache
Equal parts chocolate and cream:
8 oz/250 g Heavy cream or whipping cream
8 oz/250 g the best quality semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate you can find
Place cream in a saucepan over high heat and bring just to a boil, then remove the pan from the heat. Meanwhile, chop chocolate into small pieces and put in a bowl. Beat the hot cream into the chocolate until thoroughly mixed. The mixture will solidify as it cools. The time it takes to cool will vary depending on the room temperature and temperature of your pan. You may place the pan in a larger pan of ice water to cool the mixture just until it comes to spreading consistency. Remove from the ice bath at this point to make sure it doesn't harden too much. Use this mixture as a filling between cake or cookies.
A very simple but sinful dessert -- top a brownie or pound cake square with a scoop of ganache, then drizzle with a fruit or caramel sauce.
More cream - less chocolate for a lighter consistency that is perfect for mousse.
12 oz/375 g Heavy cream or whipping cream
8 oz/250 g Couverture or the best quality, semi-sweet chocolate you can find
Place cream in a saucepan over high heat and bring just to a boil, then remove the pan from the heat. Meanwhile, chop chocolate into small pieces and put in a bowl. Beat the hot cream into the chocolate until thoroughly mixed*. Spoon into a serving dish(s) and serve immediately or do ahead of time and let cool covered in the refrigerator.
*You can use a whip or beater to make the mixture fluffy if you want a very light mousse before spooning into your serving dish.
Less cream - more chocolate for a denser consistency that is good for rolling into truffles.
1/2 cup/125 ml Heavy cream or whipping cream
8 oz/250 g Semi-sweet chocolate or couverture, chopped into small pieces
1 - 2 tablespoons Liqueur (Grand Marnier, Kahlua, Amaretto, Frangelico) -- optional
1/2 cup/125 ml Unsweetened cocoa for decoration, piled on dinner plate and set aside
Place cream in a saucepan over high heat and bring just to a boil, then remove the pan from the heat. Meanwhile, chop chocolate into small pieces and put in a bowl. Beat the hot cream into the chocolate until thoroughly mixed. Add optional flavorings, one tablespoon at a time, until desired taste and consistency is reached. If the mixture becomes too stiff because of the higher proportion of chocolate, place the bottom of the pan in another larger pan of hot (not boiling) water to soften the ganache. Take a small scoop of the ganache mixture and roll into a ball between your palms. Drop the ball into the cocoa, and roll until well coated. Place on wax paper or parchment paper to cool and solidify. Store truffles in the refrigerator but serve at room temperature.